Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337) was an Italian painter and architect from Florence in the late middle ages. He was the first artist to introduce perspective and foreshortening in painting, revive the concept of drawing accurately from life and the first to break away from the earlier Byzantine style of art. He had an incredible way of breathing life into his forms and inviting the viewer into his scenes. In this fresco, The Lamentation, heaven and earth are united in the grief for the loss of the Saviour; the agony is palpable in the fluttering angels, in the stricken face of the Virgin holding her son for the last time, in the group of mourners standing silently nearby. Movement is created by his use of complimentary colors and hand gestures.
The San Zaccaria Alterpiece is a work created by the Venetian painter, Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516) during the High Renaissance period, masterfully depicting the Sacred Conversation between the Madonna and Saints. Virgin Mary is shown on the throne beneath a golden half dome, commanding, yet sweet, with a tender gesture of her hand underneath the foot of baby Jesus (who has his hand raised in blessing), an angel playing a divine melody on the violin, St. Catherine with her broken wheel, St. Lucy with a dish of her eyes, St. Peter holding his keys and the Book of Wisdom and St. Jerome who translated the Greek edition of the Bible into the first edition in Latin. A hint of a fresh landscape peeks in from either side of the two classical, coloumns which enclose a warm, rich and mellow atmosphere enveloping the holy figures in this simple, symmetrical composition. Bellini, at the peak of his form, in his seventies shows his mastery in the oil medium after his initial years in tempera and in the Quattrocento style. He is successful in evoking a living, austere spiritual feeling in this masterpiece.
Tiziano Vecellio or Titian was a disciple of Bellini, he was a great draftsman and was excellent in his use of color and in achieving subtle color transitions. In this oil painting, Assumption of the Virgin, he forms a composition in which he unites three different layers into a harmonious whole. The first layer is that of the earth, showing the apostles who are looking at Virgin Mary, flying on the clouds along with celebrating and dancing putti heavenwards where God and putto with the crown of the Holy Glory are shown.
Madonna with Saints and members of the Pesaro family was painted just a few years after Bellini had completed his `Sacred Conversation`. Titian has moved away from the formal, symmetrical composition which always had the Madonna at the centre, and instead used a triangular composition with the Madonna at the top of the stairs creating a livelier scene with active participants. St. Peter has deposited the key on the stairs, and both he and the Madonna look down on the patron of Titian. The child Jesus locks gaze with St. Francis who draws attention to the other members of the patron`s family kneeling in the corner of the picture.
This tragic scene of The Crowning of Thorns was painted by him in 1545 where he has beautifully captured the stoic sufferring of the Christ before his cruel aggressors who ram down the crown onto his head.